Boris Johnson’s mobile phone has been tested by cybersecurity experts after Downing Street was attacked by notorious spyware used by hackers and authoritarian regimes.
Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab found that a Downing Street device was infected with the infamous “Trojan horse” style snooping softwarewhere the breach “probably resulted in the exfiltration of potentially highly sensitive data,” said The times.
According to the New YorkerTests were carried out on “several” phones, including one belonging to the Prime Minister, with analysts from Citizen Lab concluding that on 7 July 2020 Pegasus spy software “was used to hack a device connected to the network at 10 Downing Street to infect”.
The National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of Britain’s intelligence services, ran tests on the phones and, according to the magazine, were ultimately “unable to locate the infected device” or determine the nature of the data stolen.
Who hacked #10?
The Citizen Lab said that “based on the servers to which the data was transmitted,” the United Arab Emirates or an organization associated with the country was most likely behind the cyberattack.
The Canadian research body also said at least five phones linked to the Foreign Office were hacked between July 2020 and June 2021, with a government official confirming that “evidence of hacking was uncovered.” The attacks were likely carried out by “Pegasus operators linked to the United Arab Emirates, India, Cyprus and Jordan,” The Times said.
John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, said Britain “underestimated the threat of Pegasus” even though it was “spectacularly burned”. However, government sources told The Times this week that the cyberattacks were not “serious or widespread” and are no longer seen as a threat.
The UAE did not respond to requests for comment, the New Yorker said, while employees at NSO, the Israeli company that developed Pegasus, claimed they were unaware of the hack.
In a statement, the company said: “The information gathered in the investigation indicates that these claims are again false and cannot be linked to NSO products for technological and contractual reasons.”
What is Pegasus?
Pegasus was founded by NSO Group, an Israeli tech company that was “blacklisted” by the United States last year for selling the spyware to “governments that “maliciously” target dissidents, human rights activists and journalists.” according to The Times.
It is a spyware that secretly gives access to the target’s cell phone The guard. It gains access through minor software glitches and can extract emails, photos and contact details, as well as secretly activate the phone’s microphone and camera.
NSO claims it only sells its software to verified government customers to help them prevent “terrorism and serious crime”, but an investigation coordinated by NGO Forbidden Stories, Amnesty and 17 news organizations including The Guardian indicated that Pegasus has been used by many authoritarian regimes and right-wing populist governments to target journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and opposition politicians.
The investigation revealed that many cases of Pegasus deployment occurred in 10 countries in particular: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and the UAE BBC reported.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/cyber-crime/956466/who-hacked-downing-street Who Hacked Downing Street? | The week Great Britain